Peregrine Falcon in urban locations

on 3rd September 2009

“The sight of common house crows perching on TV antennae of high rise apartments in Singapore is familiar to all. How about that of the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)?” ask Sun Chong Hong.

“On 24 Feb 09 at about 6.30 pm, I saw a bird flying towards a 25 storey HDB block in Bishan near to the Bishan Park. At first I thought it was a house crow. After a short while, I realised I was mistaken because the way the bird flapped its wings was different from that of the crow. While crows flap their wings more gracefully and look more flexible, the movement of this bird’s wings appeared to be stiff. It landed and perched on the antennae and started to preen itself.

“For the next 7 days or so, the bird would come and land on its perch between 6.30 pm and 7 pm. However, since yesterday (4 Mar) the bird was no longer seen.”

According to Tudge (2008), “Peregrines are taking to city life worldwide. For them, the towers are cliffs – just right for nesting; and there are pigeons aplenty to feed on.”

It seems that in Singapore, they are getting common, especially during the winter migratory months, although a few are also seen during the non-migratory season as well. According to our bird specialist R Subaraj, “based on colouration and size, these birds are believed to be visitors of the resident race from some place nearby, like Malaysia. These falcons are often found on transmitter towers, including Bukit Batok, Sentosa, Ubin and even Fort Canning. These structures offer a good vantage point, feeding and roosting perch.”

There are always plentiful mynas and starlings to provide food for these raptors in urban and rural areas. See also below.

Image by Kwek Swee Meng.

Tudge, C., 2008. Consider the birds. Who they are and what they want. Allen Lane, London. 480 pp.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

4 Responses

  1. After note: the Peregrine Falcon continued to be seen regularly at the same perch, sometimes in both early morning around 7.30 am and in the evening, until end of April.

  2. Hi,

    Urban Peregrines often hunt at night – especially during the migration seasons…you might want to return at dusk to see if that Peregrine gets active after dark (it is cooler then and darkness increases their ability to hunt undetected).


  3. Hi Robert

    The Falcon I sighted here always leave, presumably to roost elsewhere before total darkness fell. There are plenty of trees in the area. Waves and waves of pink-necked green pigeons, totaling perhaps in the hundreds, can be seen arriving at dusk before they settle in their roosts. There are also plenty of other common birds of Singapore, such as mynahs, asian glossy starlings, pigeons here. With food aplenty around, the Falcon may not need to hunt in the dark.

    By the way, I didn’t have the luck of seeing the Falcon pursuing its prey.

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